Horse & Rider
Before You Begin
Decide on the cue you’ll use to call him. It can be any short word (such as “here” or “come”), or a loud whistle. Don’t make it his name, as you use that at other times as well. This cue is exclusively to call him to
Start in your small paddock or round pen, with your haltered horse standing so his left side is beside the wall. Stand in front of and face him, as in the photos. Hold the lead rope in your right hand and the longe whip in your left. (Also hold the lash of the whip with your left hand so it’s not swinging around.) Allow about three feet of slack in the lead.
Then, ask your horse to come to you by giving the voice cue clearly and assertively, while at the same time taking one step backwards. The backward step will exert slight pull on the lead, and moving back creates a space that invites your horse to step into.
If need be, reinforce the cue with a light tap on your horse’s right shoulder with the end of the longe whip. The wall will keep him from moving left, and he won’t want to move towards the whip, so he should walk forward to you.
When he does, stop and rub or scratch him with the whip to reward him. You can also use your hand to rub and scratch, but doing it at least as much with the whip teaches him he has nothing to fear from it. (Obviously, you’ll use the whip only for this cueing and rewarding and not for anything aggressive or punitive.)
Repeat this entire sequence multiple times. As you do, try to avoid pulling on the lead rope as much as possible. You want your horse coming to you because you called him and stepped back. So when he doesn’t, use a light tap on the shoulder to bring him up to you.
Continue until your horse is readily stepping forward the moment you give the cue and step back. Then turn him around on the fence, reverse all your cues, and practice it in the new direction.
When your horse is solid coming forward on cue at a walk, add a bit of hustle. Give the cue and step back as before, but once he’s walking towards you, begin jogging backward and see if he’ll trot to keep up with you. (Again,